British host Piers Morgan has decided to leave his job at Good Morning Britain and the announcement came only hours after he stormed off the set during an exchange with weatherman Alex Beresford. ITV released a brief statement explaining the decision had been Morgan’s and that the network “has nothing further to add.”
Morgan’s departure from the morning program comes as the United Kingdom reacts to several bombshells that came out during the interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave with Oprah Winfrey. The couple revealed someone within the institution had raised “concerns” about how dark of skin the couple’s first-born child would have. Markle also disclosed she had suicidal thoughts but was denied the help and mental health resources she needed. On March 8, Morgan had said he didn’t believe Markle’s claims, ITV reported.
But on Good Morning Britain on March 9, Beresford called out Morgan for his coverage of Markle. Beresford also dismissed Morgan’s assertion that Prince Harry should have been able to “come to terms with the media” as older brother Prince William seemed to have done in the years since Princess Diana’s death, according to ITV.
Beresford Described Morgan’s Treatment of Markle as ‘Pathetic’ & ‘Diabolical’
Morgan made the assertion that members of the royal family received a “much fairer crack of the whip” from the British press than they had during Princess Diana’s lifetime. He also argued Prince Harry “couldn’t let it go,” referencing Diana’s death and the treatment she had faced from the tabloids, as ITV reported.
The clip that has been viewed millions of times online, which is also embedded above, begins with Beresford disagreeing wholeheartedly with Morgan’s assessment. Beresford argues that Harry and Meghan had experienced “an overwhelming amount of negative press” over the years. He acknowledges the couple had positive headlines around the time of the wedding because “what press is going to trash someone’s special day?”
Beresford continues, “There was bad press around the engagement, before the engagement and everything that has followed since has been incredibly damaging, quite clearly to Meghan’s mental health and also to Harry.”
Beresford then addresses Morgan’s remarks about how Prince William had seemed to manage their mother’s death better than Prince Harry had. “I hear Piers say William has gone through the same thing, but do you know what? Siblings experience tragedy in their life and one will be absolutely fine and brush it off and the other will not be able to deal with it so strongly and that is clearly what has happened with Prince Harry in this situation,” Beresford said. “He walked behind his mother’s coffin at a tender, tender age in front of the globe. That is going to shape a young boy for the rest of his life. So I think that we all need to take a step back.”
Beresford then suggests Morgan’s harsh treatment of Markle was due to a personal slight. “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle. You’ve made it so clear a number of times on this program. A number of times. And I understand that you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle or had one and she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has, but yet you continue to trash her.”
Morgan was then heard off-camera saying, “Ok. I’m done with this. Sorry, no,” as he gets up from the anchor desk. Beresford remarks, “Do you know what, that’s absolutely pathetic” as Morgan storms off the set. Morgan kept his microphone on and was heard saying, “You can trash me mate, but not on my own show,” as he walked out.
Beresford continues his argument after Morgan’s abrupt departure. “This is absolutely diabolical behavior. I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen. 6.30 to 7 o’clock yesterday was incredibly hard to watch, incredibly hard to watch.”
An ITV senior executive has spoken to Morgan about his coverage of Markle, according to The Guardian. The outlet reported that Morgan has been critical of both Markle and Prince Harry and accused them of seeking media attention while complaining about “the scrutiny that came with the job.”
Morgan & Beresford Went on to Have a Live Discussion About Race & How Markle’s Remarks Had Impacted Global Opinion About the Entire Royal Family
Morgan eventually returned to the set and he and Beresford went on to have a calmer discussion. As the Huffington Post reported, Morgan accused Beresford of being “derogatory” against him. “You launching into a pretty personally derogatory monologue on one of your colleagues isn’t probably one of the best ways to go about it. As much as I’d like to sit here taking abuse from you for hours on end, that’s not going to happen.”
Beresford responded, “I’m not trying to come on this show and take you down, tear you apart. Just because we’re on the same side, doesn’t mean we have to have the same view.” Beresford added that certain issues Meghan Markle had addressed were personal for him as a person of color and that he was not accusing Morgan of being a racist. “I have the luxury of knowing you on and off-screen and we’ve had conversations, I know where you stand on this and I have a great amount of respect for you, Piers.”
ITV’s Good Morning Britain shared a clip of the conversation on YouTube from where it picked up from there. The conversation delved deeper into the issue of racism. During the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry had described the British press as “bigoted.” He and Markle both said they believed some of the treatment of Markle had been motivated by racial bias.
Beresford explains in the clip how Markle’s assertions had resonated with him. “I’m tired of finding a different way to explain not to you [Piers], but to so many people on why what has been said is so wrong. I’ve walked into institutions as the only person of color and experienced covert and overt racism on so many occasions and why the Meghan interview really resonates with me is because an ex-work colleague — not on this show — asked me if I was worried about the shade of cocoa that my son was going to come out. So I fully understand the hurt that is behind all of that. And when you’re mixed race, what you find, in my personal experience, and there may be other people that may come forward and says this, is that when you are a lighter shade of black people gain confidence and feel they can say things to you that they wouldn’t say to a Black person and that is my experience of all of this.”
Morgan responds that he “completely respected” Beresford’s argument. Morgan adds that it had been his idea to have Beresford on the program that morning to share his perspective following Markle and Prince Harry’s interview.
Beresford thanks him for that but says he feels Morgan needs to be “aware of the power of your words.” Beresford moves on by repeating his assertion that Morgan’s coverage of Markle may be slanted because of a previous relationship between the two.
Morgan jumps in and acknowledges he knew Markle “briefly.” He explains that his prior interactions with Markle showed him that, in his words, Markle “is a bit of a cut and run. For all her life, all her family, her father, her ex-husband, her ex-friends, they’ve all been cut out of her life. And it’s an interesting observation but I happen to be one of those people.”
Morgan then makes the argument that his personal opinion of Markle doesn’t matter nor whether he believes what she said to Oprah Winfrey. “What matters is the damage that she is accused of doing to the royal family.” Morgan asserts that Markle had caused people around the world to speculate about whether the entire royal family was racist. He poses a question to Beresford about Markle and Prince Harry’s revelation that the color of their baby’s skin had been discussed.
“Is there a qualitative difference between somebody perhaps innocently saying to you, out of interest, if you had one parent is white, one parent is black, what color could your baby be,” Morgan asks. “Is there a difference between that question, phrased in that innocent perhaps way, and somebody doing it in a tone that says, ‘Well how dark is your baby going to be,’ in a derogatory or perhaps racist way?” Beresford agrees but says that based on the interview, it appeared that questions about baby Archie’s skin had been negative.